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A study was performed where advanced analytical methods were used to better characterize the selenium concentrations in the Ottawa River near Lima, Ohio. Previous work using conventional analytical methods indicated that upstream total recoverable selenium (SeT) concentrations were
near 3 ug/L. The water quality criteria that must be met downstream of the facility is 5 ug/L for SeT. This means that 60% of the assimilative capacity of the River is accounted for by estimated upstream SeT concentrations that are at or near the method detection limits (MDL). The use of the
Dynamic Reaction Chamber ICP-MS dramatically reduces common interferences and results in MDL that are several orders of magnitude lower (<0.01 ug/L) than conventional methods (2 ug/L). These new data show that upstream concentrations are near 0.25 ug/L, which will be used to re-evaluate
the permit limit for the facility. This new estimated permit effluent limit will allow the refinery to optimize the cost-benefit of the SeT removal systems and still be protective of aquatic life. Key project elements were the validation of this non-standard analytical method for regulatory
purposes and the use of clean metal sampling techniques to minimize contamination for these low level SeT determinations.
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